Darksoul by Anna Stephens – REVIEW
In the besieged city of Rilporin, Commander Durdil Koridam is crowned a reluctant king, and orders that the city’s people must fight to the last rather than surrender to the surrounding armies of the Mireces and their evil Red Gods.
Outside Rilporin, the uneasy truce between King Corvus’s Mireces and the traitorous Prince Rivil’s forces holds, but the two armies are growing desperate to force a breach of the walls before the city’s reinforcements arrive.
Meanwhile, prophet Dom Templeson reaches Rilporin: the Red Gods have tortured and broken his mind, and he ends up in Corvus’s hands, forced to tell all his secrets. And what he knows could win the war for the Mireces.
Elsewhere, in Yew Cove, only a few survivors remain from a Rank of thousands of Rilporian warriors. Dom foresees the important role one of those survivors, Crys Tailorson, will take on as the events to come unfold. As Crys grows into his position as a leader, that role becomes clearer—and far darker. Will he be willing to pay the price to fulfil his destiny?
“The Gods of Light are failing. There’s only the Blood now, blood spilt and blood sacrificed and blood in Her name.”
I read Godblind whilst I was on holiday earlier this month and absolutely loved it. I emailed Harper Collins straightaway to request the sequel and Jaime kindly sent me an early finished copy of Darksoul which I immediately devoured. This has quickly become one of my favourite fantasy series and I’m not sure how I’ll wait for the final book due out next year. When recommending these books I would compare them to Game of Thrones for the unforgettable cast of characters and complex world-building (they also have a similar level of violence and profanity) but they stand on their own as a fantastic series.
“War makes savages of us all, and none of us will ever be the same.”
Darksoul begins a few weeks after the events of Godblind and the reader is thrown straight into the action with a fast-paced narrative. The siege of Rilpor allows for authentic and well-written fight scenes thanks to the author’s martial arts background. Like the first book, the political machinations of both sides lead to betrayal and a number of brutal deaths. This shifting world finds some characters struggling to adjust, especially with the haunting decisions made in wartime and the grief that inevitably follows any battle. The grimdark setting allows the author to explore the extremes of human emotion and it’s because of this heightened emotional element that the characters really stand out.
“Live well, fight hard, love harder. That is all any of us can do.”
The complexity of the characters in this series is phenomenal and they are also wonderfully diverse in age, race, sexual orientation, and gender. I found myself interested in the motivations and feelings of every character, even the despicable ones. Crys Tailorson is definitely one of my favourite characters so it was particularly intriguing to see how his character developed and the hints to his potential role in the next. Another complex character is Dom who is utterly broken after becoming Godblind. However, the events of this book have me questioning his future and the fragile connection he shares with Rillirin who holds the key to the fate of the world. As you can tell, I adored this book and it’s clear that Anna Stephens has masterfully manoeuvred the pieces into place for what looks to be an epic final book.
Release Date: 23 August 2018 (UK)